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West Jordan mom charged with murder in daughter death
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A 53-year-old West Jordan woman was charged Thursday with first-degree felony murder for allegedly killing her 18-year-old daughter and then trying to kill herself last week, in what the woman claimed was a death pact.

Mary Ethyl Hansen shot Virginia Ray Hansen twice in the head on March 21, then shot herself, according to the charges filed in 3rd District Court.

Mary Hansen then drove to a neighbor's home, explained what she had done and asked the neighbor to call 911, according to court documents.

The woman then returned home, where police found the daughter dead in the bedroom. A silver handgun was found nearby.

Mary Hansen told police that both she and her daughter suffered mental illness and that both "wanted to die," according to charges.

Mary Hansen, who was treated at a hospital, was arrested the day after the shooting and booked into the Salt Lake County jail, where she remained Thursday in lieu of $1 million bail.

Mary Hansen reportedly had health issues and financial troubles.

Audrey Orrillo, who had been a friend of Mary Hansen for some time, said the mother lived on Social Security benefits, had fibromyalgia and was behind on paying the property taxes on her home.

According to the Salt Lake County Treasurer's Office, Hansen owed $8,819.62 in unpaid taxes and has been delinquent since 2008.

Orrillo said Hansen had moved with her daughter from California and used inheritance money to pay cash for her West Jordan home but had gotten behind on the taxes.

Orrillo said the daughter had few, if any, friends and took online classes instead of traditional school. She said the mother and daughter stayed at home and rarely went out.

"They were all [that] each other had," Orrillo said.

The combination of stresses on the mother may have caused her to snap, Orrillo said.

shunt@sltrib.com

Police • Mary Hansen claimed she had a death pact with 18-year-old.
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